Sudbury

Cambrian staff surprised by lack of consultation in program cuts

There was a lot of emotion at Cambrian College Thursday night, after the school's board of governors officially suspended nine programs.

Cambrian College president said programs could be brought back if there is demand from industry

There was a lot of emotion at Cambrian College Thursday night, after the school's board of governors officially suspended nine programs.

Some faculty and staff are upset with the way the cuts to programs — including journalism, chef training and restaurant management — have been handled.

Cambrian College programs that have been officially suspended:

  • Welder Fitter
  • Instrumentation Engineering Technology
  • Chef Training
  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Journalism
  • Building Bridges
  • Transition to College
  • College Vocational

The board simply rubber stamped recommendations that were made earlier this week, nevertheless, teary students and faculty were still shocked to hear their programs were being officially suspended.

Jean-Guy Robichaud, the co-ordinator of the now suspended Baking and Pastry Arts program, said the program cost too much.

Robichaud said he wished he was consulted earlier.

"I've owned businesses [and] I've run businesses," he said. "I know how it works. Just the lack of participation, I guess, was kind of disappointing."

Cambrian College President Sylvia Barnard

Cambrian President Sylvia Barnard said faculty shouldn't be surprised, as they get information every year on their programs.

"It’s not just that we've looked at trends and not tried anything," Barnard said. "We've been working on [some of these programs] for five or six years."

Programs could be brought back

In its presentation to the board, the College explained the rationale for its recommendations to suspend the programs, citing various factors such as enrolment levels, delivery costs, and the need to reinvest in program areas that are experiencing increased demand.

Students currently enrolled in the suspended programs will still be able to finish their classes and graduate.

Barnard noted the cancelled programs could be brought back if there is demand from industry — and the college is already anxious to bring one of them back.

The instrumentation engineering technology program — which teaches students to monitor automated equipment — was cut because of a lack of enrollment, however school administration said there is a lot of demand for graduates from industry.

Ray Carr, a retired instrumentation professor from Cambrian College, said students don't apply to the program because they don't understand what it is.

"The last recession we had, students were looking for work and they'd ask me … where [to] look for work ... I'd say look look in the Globe and Mail … find out where they're laying off 700-800 people and apply there," Carr said. "They're automating and they need people to keep the automation running."

There were originally 11 programs slated to be cut. The board opted to keep two public relations programs, but it will be moved to the School of Business.

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